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UK to remove visa requirement for Emiratis, other GCC nationals from 2023

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UAE citizens will no longer require a visa prior to travel to the United Kingdom from next year, said Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE’s ambassador to the UK. The Emirates will be one of the first countries to enjoy this facility under the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, which will be rolled out in 2023.

Travellers from GCC countries will only need to apply online to get the entry permit (ETA), the UK’s Home Office said in a statement on Monday. ETA, a UK-entry permit document available online, allows travellers from eligible nations to visit Great Britain for several purposes without acquiring a visa. “It’s important that I follow up a very exciting announcement that we have had by the UK government on visas, particularly on the Electronic Travel Authorisation system which is coming into place early next year whereby UAE will be granted access in the system, making it easier to travel for Emirati nationals to the United KIngdom, Abulhoul said in a video message on Twitter.

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UK TO REMOVE VISA REQUIREMENT FOR EMIRATIS, OTHER GCC NATIONALS FROM 2023
By Team BuzZzing June 27, 2022

UAE citizens will no longer require a visa prior to travel to the United Kingdom from next year, said Mansoor Abulhoul, UAE’s ambassador to the UK.The Emirates will be one of the first countries to enjoy this facility under the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme, which will be rolled out in 2023.

Travellers from GCC countries will only need to apply online to get the entry permit (ETA), the UK’s Home Office said in a statement on Monday. ETA, a UK-entry permit document available online, allows travellers from eligible nations to visit Great Britain for several purposes without acquiring a visa. “It’s important that I follow up a very exciting announcement that we have had by the UK government on visas, particularly on the Electronic Travel Authorisation system which is coming into place early next year whereby UAE will be granted access in the system, making it easier to travel for Emirati nationals to the United KIngdom, Abulhoul said in a video message on Twitter.

In addition to the UAE, other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are reported to be part of the ETA scheme as well. The UAE passport has been ranked one of the strong in the world, ranked 15th in the Henley Passport Index earlier this year globally and first in the Arab World. This enable UAE citizens to travel with ease to different to different countries and visa-on-arrival score of 175.

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UAE announces 10 year Blue Residency Visa

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The UAE has announced a long-term residency for environment advocates. Called ‘Blue Residency’, the 10-year visa will be granted to individuals who have made “exceptional contributions and efforts in the field of protecting the environment”.

Applicable fields include boosting the air quality and green technology. “The sustainability of our economy has become linked to the sustainability of our environment,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, as he chaired a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday.


Blue Residency: Who is eligible

The Blue Residency will specifically be granted to supporters of environmental action. This includes members of international organizations, international companies, members of associations and non-governmental organizations and global award winners. It also includes distinguished activists and researchers in environmental work. Those are interested in the residency are invited to submit their applications through the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs, and Port Security, or through nominations by competent authorities.

The UAE already grants 10-year residency visas, called golden visas, to eligible investors, entrepreneurs, scientists, outstanding students and graduates, humanitarian pioneers and frontline heroes.

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Sheikh Hamdan launches ‘Dubai Quality of Life Strategy’ 2033

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Under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, today approved the ‘Dubai Quality of Life Strategy 2033’, a visionary strategy dedicated to ensuring the comprehensive wellbeing of all segments of the community including nationals, residents and visitors. Encompassing a holistic and integrated approach to wellbeing, the strategy aims to establish Dubai as a global leader in quality of life and enhance its status as the world’s preferred destination to live, work and visit.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed stressed that caring for people remains the cornerstone of Dubai’s sustainable development strategies. The wellbeing of individuals is the ultimate objective of our development plans and the primary criterion for the success of government programmes.

“We have today approved the Dubai Quality of Life Strategy 2033 as part of our efforts to raise our global standing in the economy as well as in the areas of innovation and wellbeing. The vibrancy and cultural diversity of our society are key to our development journey.”

“The Dubai Quality of Life Strategy encompasses over 200 projects, initiatives, and plans. The strategy encompasses ten key pillars, all dedicated to fostering the wellbeing of individuals, society, and the city. Our objective is to establish Dubai as one of the world’s best cities in terms of wellbeing, offer every resident a healthy, active, and enjoyable lifestyle, build a society that takes pride in its identity and cultural diversity, and offer the highest quality of leisure and entertainment. Dubai’s name will become synonymous with fine living worldwide.”

“All projects initiated as part of the strategy will be overseen by a new office dedicated to enhancing quality of life in Dubai, in coordination with over 19 government entities and dozens of private organisations,” His Highness added. 

Innovative initiatives
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum made these remarks after reviewing the highlights of the Dubai Quality of Life Strategy, which is aligned with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan. The strategy features an integrated roadmap for sustainable urban development in the city for all segments of the community aimed at realising His Highness’s vision for Dubai’s future and establishing it as one of the world’s best cities in terms of wellbeing. 

Upon arrival at the designated location for the plan’s launch at Keturah Reserve, His Highness was received by His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner-General for Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Well-Being Pillar. His Highness was briefed about a host of innovative initiatives that included wellbeing districts, the 20-minute city concept, development of a new generation of parks, the walking strategy, development plans for outlying areas, the development of beaches, the landscaping strategy, and the development of sports and entertainment facilities accessible to all.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed reviewed the new vision for designing model neighbourhoods covering three districts across Dubai: Al Mizhar 1, Al Khawaneej 2, and Al Barsha 2. This new vision aims to enhance the infrastructure of these existing neighbourhoods by upgrading social amenities and services, promoting soft mobility options for healthier living environments, and improving connections between community hubs such as parks, mosques, and shops.

More than 115 km of pedestrian and cycling tracks will be constructed, more than 3,000 trees and plants will be planted, and more than 20 investment opportunities will be created during Phase 1 of the strategy for the residents of Al Khawaneej 2 and Al Barsha 2.

The redevelopment plans include upgrading the existing collector streets and constructing shaded canopies, lanes for bikes and e-scooters, pedestrian walkways, restrooms, and family recreational spaces. 

The vision also involves landscaping, constructing distinctive architectural gateways for each residential community, giving a unique character to every neighbourhood, and improving alleyways and street intersections to boost safety and provide pedestrian lanes. 

Furthermore, it offers investment opportunities for locals, enhances public services, and delivers the ’20-minute city’ concept, which aims to ensure residents can access 80% of essential services within a 20-minute journey aboard soft and sustainable mobility options. 

His Highness also reviewed the designs of the next generation of parks in Dubai, featuring new and innovative design elements that cater to the diverse needs of the community, reflect the unique character of each district, and incorporate sustainable activities to foster wellbeing. More than 30 parks with the new designs will be developed across the emirate within three years.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed directed all government departments in Dubai to expedite the implementation of projects and initiatives linked to the Dubai Quality of Life Strategy.

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Emirates Group reports best-ever financial performance with record profit of AED 18.7 billion 

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 The Emirates Group today released its 2023-24 Annual Report, hitting new record profit, revenue, and cash balance levels.

Both Emirates and dnata saw significant profit and revenue increases in 2023-24, as the Group expanded its operations around the world to meet strong customer demand for its high-quality products and services.

For the financial year ended 31 March 2024, the Emirates Group posted a record profit of AED 18.7 billion (US$ 5.1 billion), up 71% compared with an AED 10.9 billion (US$ 3.0 billion) profit for last year. The Group’s revenue was AED 137.3 billion (US$ 37.4 billion), an increase of 15% over last year’s results. The Group’s cash balance was AED 47.1 billion (US$ 12.8 billion), the highest ever reported, up 11% from last year.  

Combined Group profits for the last 2 years, at AED 29.6 billion, surpass pandemic losses of AED 25.9 billion during 2020-2022.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates airline and Group said: “The Emirates Group has once again raised the bar to deliver a new record performance. Throughout the year, we saw high demand for air transport and travel related services around the world, and because we were able to move quickly to deliver what customers want, we achieved tremendous results. We are reaping the benefit of years of non-stop investments in our products and services, in building strong partnerships, and in the capabilities of our talented people.

“Huge credit is also due to the UAE’s visionary leaders, especially HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It is thanks to their leadership and the nation’s progressive policies that the Emirates Group is able to flourish. Both Emirates and dnata have forged successful business models leveraging Dubai’s unique advantages, in turn generating enormous value for Dubai and the communities they serve around the world.” 

HH Sheikh Ahmed added: “The Group’s excellent financial standing today places us in a strong position for future growth and success. It enables us to invest to deliver even better products, services, and more value to our customers and stakeholders.” 

Many major projects are already underway, including: a multibillion-dollar aircraft fleet and cabin renewal programme; new catering, cargo, and ground handling capabilities; advanced technologies to support the Group’s operations; expanded training and people development programmes; and initiatives to progress the Group’s sustainability agenda.

In 2023-24, the Group collectively invested AED 8.8 billion (US$ 2.4 billion) in new aircraft, facilities, equipment, companies, and the latest technologies to support its growth plans.

The Group’s total workforce grew by 10% to 112,406 employees, its largest size ever, as Emirates and dnata continued recruitment activity around the world to support its expanding operations and bolster its future capabilities.

The Group took significant strides in its sustainability journey during 2023-24, putting into action numerous initiatives focussed on the environment, its people, customers, and communities.

Environmental topics were high on the agenda during the year, as the UAE hosted the world’s biggest conference for climate action, COP28, in Dubai.

In 2023-24, Emirates signed new supply agreements to uplift sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) at its Dubai hub for the very first time, and also in Amsterdam and Singapore. The airline operated the first A380 demonstration flight using 100% SAF in one engine, collecting data to support industry efforts to enable a future of 100% SAF flying.

Recognising that airlines today have the limited viable solutions to meaningfully reduce carbon emissions, Emirates established a US$ 200 million fund to support R&D projects that focus on reducing the impact of fossil fuels in commercial aviation. It also became a founding entity of Air-CRAFT, a UAE-based research consortium for renewable and advanced aviation fuels; and joined The Solent Cluster, a UK initiative focused on producing low-carbon fuels for a variety of sectors, including aviation.

dnata continued to invest and induct more electric and hybrid vehicles to its global fleet of ground support equipment (GSE), adding new baggage tractors, cargo loaders, and pushback tractors to its USA operations. It also converted and refurbished diesel-powered GSEs in Italy to run on Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil and electric power. dnata’s UAE businesses including dnata logistics, Arabian Adventures, Alpha Flight Services and City Sightseeing Worldwide, transitioned to biofuel for its landside fleet of vehicles.

During the year, dnata became the first combined air services provider to receive the International Air Transport Association’s environmental management (IEnvA) certification for its commitment to sustainability across its UAE businesses; and Emirates achieved IEnvA Stage One and the IEnvA Illegal Wildlife Trade module certifications, for its efforts in environmental stewardship and anti-wildlife trafficking.

The Group ramped up investments in people development, rolling out a comprehensive programme of learning and training options for its workforce in partnership with top universities and key industry partners. A Gender Balance Council was established to champion and promote gender equality within the Group.

The Emirates Group has expanded its ESG reporting in its latest 2023-24 report and are adopting aspects of the GRI standards. It plans to evolve its reporting to meet ISSB and CSRD requirements in the coming years[1].

Sheikh Ahmed said: “We enter our 2024-25 financial year on strong foundations for continued growth. Emirates will receive delivery of 10 new A350 aircraft in 2024-25, adding to our fleet mix and supporting the next phase of its network growth. dnata will continue to leverage synergies and scale across its business divisions to grow its footprint and capabilities. In tandem, we are investing resources to minimise our environmental impact, develop our people, look after our customers and the communities we serve.”

“The business outlook is positive, and we expect customer demand for air transport and travel to remain strong in the coming months. As always, we will keep a close watch on costs and external factors such as oil prices, currency fluctuations, and volatile environments caused by socio-political changes. Our business model has been tested before, and I am confident in our resilience and ability to respond quickly to opportunities and challenges.”

He added: “Looking further ahead, the Dubai government has announced plans to start the next phase of expansion at Al Maktoum International Airport, which will eventually be the new hub for Emirates and dnata’s operations. This AED 128 billion (US$ 35 billion) investment will significantly expand and enhance Dubai’s aviation and logistics infrastructure, supporting the city’s growth, and Emirates’ and dnata’s growth.

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